Improvement of Learning in the Aged by Modification of Autonomic Nervous System Activity

Science  18 Dec 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3964, pp. 1327-1329
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3964.1327


Partial blockade of beta-adrenergic end-organ response to the autonomic nervous system was effected in a group of older men by administration of propranolol. The result was improved performance in a learning task. The data support the hypothesis that the learning decrement found among older men is not simply a manifestation of structural change in the central nervous system but is, at least in part, associated with the heightened arousal of the autonomic nervous system that accompanies the learning task.